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Jan 1, 2014

Scarred U.S. consumers a hard sell for traditional retail

NEW YORK, Jan 1 (Reuters) – If there was one lesson from
this year’s holiday shopping season, it is that many traditional
retailers are having to work a lot harder to persuade Americans
to open their pocketbooks.

A lot of stores had to discount heavily to eke out a modest
increase in sales, likely squeezing profit margins in the
process.

Dec 31, 2013

U.S. consumer mood brightens, but home price gains slow

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. consumers’ mood improved as 2013 drew to a close, with many optimistic about their future job prospects, while home prices rose again in October, though the pace of gains slowed.

The data releases provided more evidence of strength in the U.S. economy, which appears to have overcome headwinds caused by an autumn government shutdown, higher taxes and rising mortgage rates.

Dec 26, 2013

Another record for Dow; bond yields near 2-year high

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as decent holiday spending data helped the Dow notch another record closing high while benchmark Treasury yields neared a two-year high of 3 percent after the government reported that fewer Americans sought jobless benefits.

Volume was light with most markets around the world closed, but traders who were at their desks focused on an improved U.S. economic outlook, which has kept the Dow on its longest winning streak since March. The S&P 500 also hit a record closing high.

Dec 23, 2013

Fed hawks back taper decision, one urges bolder action

By Steven C. Johnson and Alister Bull

(Reuters) – Two of the Federal Reserve’s most outspoken policy hawks voiced support on Monday for the U.S. central bank’s decision to start scaling back its bond-buying program, though one argued for bolder action.

Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Richmond Federal Reserve, and Dallas Fed chief Richard Fisher, long-standing critics of the Fed’s ultra-easy monetary policy, both said the taper was justified and pointed to recent encouraging signals from the U.S. economy.

Dec 23, 2013

Fed’s Lacker: Taper call ‘a slam dunk,’ but changes possible – CNBC

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s decision to slow its monthly bond purchases was justified by an improving labor market but the central bank could still adjust the pace of tapering based on incoming data, a top Fed official said on Monday.

“I think the time was right,” Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, a long-time critic of the Fed’s monthly bond purchases, said in an interview on CNBC-TV. “Given the data….this decision was kind of a slam dunk.”

Dec 20, 2013

Yields at high end of range draw buyers

NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Longer-dated Treasury debt
prices rose on Friday as yields near the upper end of their
recent range drew buyers and the market adjusted to the idea
that the Federal Reserve would begin to trim its bond purchases
at the start of the new year.

In late trade, the 30-year bond rose 1-11/32 in
price to yield 3.82 percent, while the U.S. benchmark 10-year
Treasury note was up 11/32 for a yield of 2.89
percent.

Dec 19, 2013

Analysis: Rise of shareholder activism gives bond investors headaches

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When shareholder activist Carl Icahn turned up the heat on Apple in October, demanding a massive $150 billion share buyback, bond investor Bill Gross wasn’t having any of it.

Gross, the co-chief investment officer of Pimco, which runs the world’s largest bond fun, took to Twitter, saying: “Icahn should leave Apple alone & spend more time like Bill Gates,” referring to the Microsoft chairman now famous for his philanthropic efforts.

Dec 19, 2013

Rise of shareholder activism gives bond investors headaches

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) – When shareholder activist Carl
Icahn turned up the heat on Apple in October, demanding a
massive $150 billion share buyback, bond investor Bill Gross
wasn’t having any of it.

Gross, the co-chief investment officer of Pimco, which runs
the world’s largest bond fun, took to Twitter, saying: “Icahn
should leave Apple alone & spend more time like Bill Gates,”
referring to the Microsoft chairman now famous for his
philanthropic efforts.

Dec 9, 2013

Fed’s Lacker: Risks of further bond-buying outweigh benefits

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Reuters) – Further monetary stimulus is unlikely to do much to help the U.S. economy and the risks of pressing ahead with the policy outweigh the benefits, a top Federal Reserve official said on Monday.

Speaking ahead of the central bank’s December 17-18 policy meeting, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker said pressing on with the Fed’s $85-billion-a-month bond buying program will do little to help an economy being held back by slow growth in population and productivity.

Nov 21, 2013

Euro zone doesn’t face Japan-style lost decade-ECB’s Asmussen

NEW YORK, Nov 21 (Reuters) – The euro zone does not face a
“lost decade” like Japan experienced in the 1990s, and reforms
will help support a gradual recovery that is already taking
hold, a top European Central Bank policymaker said on Thursday.

Joerg Asmussen said that euro zone was using this decade
well and “fixing our problems at the root.”